This Week in Colorado History: Hail Storm!

This week in 1920, Jefferson County reported the largest hail storm seen up to that time, a storm which left $50,000-$75,000 of damage in its wake. Golden was mostly spared, as the brunt of the storm struck Wheat Ridge and the surrounding area, dropping hailstones the size of chicken eggs.

One man, a Mr. Graul of Wheat Ridge, lost an entire greenhouse as well as all of his plants. Graul estimated that the damage was around $15,000, in addition to lost business, of which about $7,000 would be covered by insurance. “The Colorado Transcript” reported that “Not one pane of glass was left in the immense greenhouses…the hailstones went right through and literally mashed the flowers and plants to pulp.”

Elsewhere, the early tomatoes were reduced to “ketchup,” along with most of the late tomatoes. The celery and corn crops were also “badly damaged,” and the cabbage crop was “almost a total loss.”

“The Colorado Transcript” and Golden citizens were angered to learn, this week in 1920, that the census department reported a population increase of only seven people since 1910. The “Transcript” said, “When the census was taken ten years ago, there were scores of vacant houses in the city. Today there isn’t a house to be found that is not occupied.” While the official estimate placed the golden population at 2,487, the paper believed Golden boasted at least 3,000 residents.

A New Mexican tourist was killed on Berthoud Pass this week in 1920. He and his wife were on the pass when they were involved in a fatal auto accident. The brakes failed and the tourists tried to turn their car onto the inner embankment to slow down. Instead, “The car climbed up the bank about twenty feet, then started back and turned over.” The driver’s wife was thrown clear, but the driver himself “was caught by the steering wheel and his chest was crushed.”

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